Several laws have been passed recently that affect landlords letting agents and property management companies. We have set out some of them below and there are links to more detailed advice. The subjects covered are:
- Minimum energy efficiency
- Tenants redress schemes
- Indicating fees
- Deposit protection
- General guidance for landlords and tenants
- Other consumer protection law
- Model agreement
New minimum energy efficiency standard
Since April 2018 a property that requires an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) can only be let on new tenancies, which includes renewals, if it has an EPC in band E or better. The law affects domestic and non-domestic premises, but Trading Standards only enforce it for non-domestic premises such as shops and offices etc.
For existing tenancies in such premises, landlords have until 2023 to comply.
There are also many exemptions to the requirements. However, almost all require the landlord to register the exemption they are claiming with the government on the National PRS (Private Rental Service) exemptions register.
Central Government have provided Guidance on the requirements, claiming an exemption, and an email address for the register. If you believe you can claim an exemption, follow the guide on how to do so, and email the address given, even though it is described as a pilot.
Landlords of property with an EPC in bands F & G should speak to an energy efficiency adviser about their options, but should also contact the Planning Department if their property is in a conservation area, as this will affect their options.
A landlord of a non-domestic property who needs advice in addition to the guidance, should contact the Trading Standards Team:
Phone: 020 7361 3002
The site mentioned above also has advice for landlords of domestic premises.
Tenants' redress schemes
Letting agents and property management companies must join a tenants’ redress scheme, or face a penalty of up to £5,000. The following run approved schemes:
- The Property Ombudsman
- The Ombudsman’s Service (Property)
- The Property Redress Scheme
Ensuring clients are aware of your fees
Letting agents and property management companies must display their fees and charges to clients. Failure to comply can result in a penalty of up to £5,000. For more information visit displaying your fees on the Business Companion website.
Tenancy deposit protection schemes
Landlords or letting agents must place a tenant’s deposit in a tenancy deposit protection scheme if the home is rented out on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007. There is more information about tenancy deposit protection scheme on the GOV.UK website.
The Department for Communities and Local Government has also produced information for tenants and landlords:
Advice on consumer protection laws
There are other laws affecting traders in general, which also apply to agents. The Competition and Markets Authority published a PDF document, Key Principles for Lettings Professionals which is a quick guide to compliance with a broad range of consumer protection legislation:
The Competition and Markets Authority have also published a more detailed document in PDF, Lettings guidance CMA31 which accompanies the quick guide:
Model agreement for a shorthold assured tenancy
The Department for Communities and Local Government has produced a model agreement for a shorthold assured tenancy as a PDF for use by landlords and agents. You are not obliged to use this, but you may find it useful:
For further information please contact us on 020 7361 3002 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.